How to Deal with the Financial Hemorrhage
"At least it's not a sports car," and "At least I'm not having an affair," are arguments my husband used to convince me that it was worth his time and our money to invest in his sport. Don't get me wrong, I agree that triathlon racing is a good thing. I just wish I had a vote in the whole sports car option.
Here are my top three ways to ensure that your costs don't spiral out of control and put you—or your relationship—in a bad place:
#1. Tighten it up.
Just like any other major investment in your life, pull together an estimated budget using my five questions outlined above. This dollar figure should include all costs associated with gear, clothing, travel, coaching and race registration fees. And be sure to bring into the discussion anyone else who will be financially impacted by your decisions so there are no surprises and no drama down the road, either.
#2. Establish buying boundaries.
Invite your partner along when you're heading out to do a little "shopping." Sometimes you get all gaga over gadgets and need a bit of corralling when confronted by fast-talking bike shop sales reps.
This is when it's vital to have that race budget in place. For example, if you are attracted to a bright, shiny thing that seems way out of line, ask yourself, "Hmm, how will this purchase impact my ability to go to New Zealand for that Ironman race next year?" This is all about choosing between something you want and something else you want. Having your race mate there will keep you honest, too.
#3. Get real.
OK, it's going to happen: You are going to walk into the house someday with a brand new triathlathingamajig under your arm, saying it's the latest, greatest gizmo on the planet and can you please, please keep it. Forget that it costs a week's salary.
Here's how to keep the peace: keep a list (I hope you already have one) of some of the really cool things that your partner would like to have or do, but won't or can't because they feel it is financially out of reach.
Then it's as simple as saying, "Hey, sweetie, seems only fair that since I got this thing, then you should go get yours, too." This alone can make you a hero.
Start your triathlon search.